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Halton County (area 228,181 acres (923 km2)) is a historic county in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is also one of the oldest counties in Canada.
Halton County is named after Major William Mathew Halton who was appointed in 1805 as Secretary to the Upper Canada provincial Lieutenant-Governor Sir Francis Gore.
Settlers started to arrive in the area in the early 1780s. The south part was first settled by United Empire Loyalists, the northern part was settled mainly by immigrants from the British Isles. As of July 24, 1788 the area was part of the Nassau District. The Provincial Act of 1792 renamed the Nassau District to Home District.
Along with Wentworth County, Halton County was created in 1816 as part of the Gore District. It originally consisted of the townships of Beverly, Blanford, Blenheim, Dumfries, Flamborough, Nelson, Nichol, Trafalgar, Waterloo and Woolwich. Over the years most of the townships were removed to other counties leaving only four: Nelson, and Trafalgar facing Lake Ontario, and Esquesing and Nassagaweya, the inland townships.
In 1973, Halton County was replaced by Regional Municipality of Halton.
The map of Halton County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the communities and physical features of the county. (Click at the bottom of the page to see the map enlarged.)
The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.
Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.
Vital Records after 1869
Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1914 are now available [October 2012]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Land Records and Wills
Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.
Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.
The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada. All of the original census (1851-1911) images are online with the exception of that for 1861. Not all of them are indexed. Later censuses are not yet available. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Halton County